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Media coverage | 3 September 2018

Axel Hellman quoted in Handelsblatt

“Axel Hellman, a policy fellow at the European Leadership Network, proposes even less official arrangements for Iran. “When SWIFT disconnected Iranian banks in 2012, some European banks maintained links to Iranian financial institutions through ad hoc messaging systems,” he says. “These practices could be revived.” It’s a feasible albeit incomplete option, he says, because funds could move between Iran and the Single European Payments Area, or SEPA, before being transferred to other European banks. “The challenge is to make sure that these European banks that deal with Iran – the gateway banks – aren’t cut off,” Mr. Hellman explains.”

“All of this requires political will in Europe and that is a first key challenge,” Mr. Hellman concludes. “In general, I sense a shift in the mentality: That the defense of the Iran deal has turned into a broader debate on European economic and political sovereignty, its ability to conduct what it considers legitimate and legal business with whom it pleases, and pursue foreign policy based on its own convictions and diplomatic philosophies.”